Why this couple downsized to a 500 square foot tiny house

54 thoughts on “Why this couple downsized to a 500 square foot tiny house”

  1. I like the idea of having less to clean and less to maintain. Frees up your time for other great things. Nicely done! With a family of five we could certainly downsize a bit, but I’m not sure 500 sqft would cut it for us.

    1. Agreed! The smaller the dwelling, the less space there is to maintain and, ultimately, the less stuff that you’ll be able to store. I agree that 500 sqft would probably be a bit on the small side for a family of five! 🙂

  2. I love seeing inside tiny homes so thanks for sharing these pictures with the interview. What a radical move, not only to the tiny house but in terms of their overall lifestyle. Congrats to Claudia and Garrett! I also love the idea of less maintenance and cleaning. Sounds so much more efficient.

    1. Thanks for letting me interview you guys! Your drive to downsize your stuff is definitely setting yourselves up for financial independence and early retirement in short, short order!

  3. Awesome job finding such an inexpensive lot! Seems completely functional with a nice setup. Love the front porch and 4 minutes to cut the grass, sign me up! We’ll definitely be looking to downsize next time we move.

    1. Thank you! In the end, I was able to negotiate a final purchase price of $3,500 for the lot due to the state it was in when. 🙂 I can’t say enough about the benefits of downsizing–it’s life-changing in so many ways!

  4. I love this post. It’s so great when two of my favorite blogs collide. I can definitely relate to the desire to eliminate mortgage debt, but we’re going to stay put in our “big” house for now (1700 square feet). I love the advice about eliminating clutter. This is the perfect example of making sure you live your priorities, and Garrett and Claudia totally do that. (And look at their floors! Drool.)

  5. Having lived in Tokyo for 9 years, I have no problem picturing a couple living in 500 sq. feet. My wife and I upsized from 450Sq Feet to 700Sq Feet when our child was 1, meaning the 3 of us lived in 450Sq Feet for 1 year. And the 2 of use had no problem living in 450Sq feet before that for 4 years.

    Incidentally, a 500Sq Feet home close to Tokyo + the land would probably cost about $500’000. Our 700 Sq Feet condo, 1h away from Tokyo downtown, cost us $400’000. I can’t imagine the price one would pay for a 1500Sq Feet house in Tokyo 🙂

    1. Ha! Wow, real estate prices sure do skyrocket when in a metro area, that’s for sure. Space is at a premium. Definitely looks like you’re used to living efficiently in small spaces. 🙂

  6. I’ve tweeted about how I’m a nut for tiny house shows, so this post is right up my alley. One random question though – Claudia is that a big blue water heater in your living room? Great post!

  7. Thanks, Steve for this post! As well as a big thank you to Claudia & Garrett for allowing us to get a peek into your home! The part that fascinates me the most is the decrease of ongoing maintenance inside & outside. How many times do people get away for a quick weekend, only to come home to a never ending list the next week or to-do items in their home? It would seem to me that there’s more focus on the activities (hiking, kayaking) and the relaxation would continue even coming back home. This is wonderful, happy new year to you all!

    1. It’s so true. We’re far more relaxed now that we aren’t running around all weekend trying to get a bunch of chores done. Our hope in 2016 is that we can reserve the entire weekend for fun rather than the chores that help us get ready for work.

    2. This is one of the main reasons why I am so looking forward to a 200 sqft RV over our current home. There is just way more to maintain and worry about with a traditional big home. There is something to be said for downsizing. 🙂

  8. Much like work tends the fill the time you give it, stuff fills the space you give it. When you’re forced to downsize your stuff, you really only keep stuff that is vital… it’s a very useful exercise. Love this story and the lessons from the experience, would never have guessed you had to buy your own meter but it makes sense.

    1. That’s so very true, Jim – we tend to approach things based on the capacity of those things. Big homes mean big things. It’s funny how that works, actually.

  9. Great interview, Steve! This is more than I’ve seen of Claudia and Garrett’s small house before, and I love seeing these photos! It makes me completely happy that they devoted a big chunk of storage over the fridge to board games, they kept that big TV, and they went with a big couch instead of a tiny loveseat and a dining table. I can get behind all of those priorities. 🙂

      1. All of the stuff in our small house is stuff from the big house–I still can’t believe the couch fit in the living room! And Garrett never would have given up that huge TV. LOL. We LOVE board games! Our family just gave us Risk, which is one we hadn’t played before. Anyone up for Monopoly or Risk? 🙂

  10. We will definitely be downsizing when we relocate, but won’t be going tiny until at least after the kids are gone. We ahve considered building a tiny house on our lot when we get somewhere tht we will be for a long time. The thought was we could use it as extra space for family, rental, or even just VRBO sort of rental. Like you mentioned though, we’ll ahve to look into what rules and restrictions there are.
    Thanks for the looka t your place, it looks pretty well set up, and like others mentioned, I like that you still kept what’s important to you, bigger tv, bigger couch, etc… It’s nice finding balance.

    1. I like the idea of building a tiny home on your lot and potentially renting out your full size place. That might easily cover your costs in the tiny home. VRBO or AirBnB is another option, but those will require a little more work, too. But lucrative if you’re in a desirable area! 🙂

    2. I think we’re going to investigate opening up our parking area behind our home for a tiny houser, until we build our own. With so many struggling to find locations, I think we can figure out a way to share. The best part about keeping the stuff you already own? It’s free! 🙂

  11. Great interview and love all the pictures! We hope to downsize someday as well (although we don’t plan on going quite this small) so it’s wonderful to see how successfully you’ve managed to do so and hear all your tips and tricks. The house looks great and thanks for sharing!

  12. This was fascinating…I love the thought of downsizing, but I wonder how that would be with a kid or two thrown in there? This is a fantastic way to control your accumulation of stuff, it won’t fit so you don’t get it. Well done!

    1. Kids definitely through a wrench into the mix, but some folks actually travel the country in an RV or van with kids. It’s tight for sure, but it’s possible. 🙂

  13. Wonderful! Small and simple feels great.

    I live in a 400 sqft smaller house now and it makes me so happy. But I’ve got at least one unused room most of the time.

    What city are you guys in to buy a $5k lot?!

    Sam

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